FORT MADISON, a flourishing town, capital of Lee county, Iowa, on the Mississippi river, 12 miles above the head of the lower rapids, 22 miles above Keokuk, and 22 miles below Burlington. The situation is beautiful and healthful: the ground rising gradually from the water to the western part of the town. The latter is well built, with a large proportion of brick houses. It contains the state prison, a handsome brick court house, and 5 or 6 churches of the same material. Two or three ferry-boats ply constantly across the river, which is nearly a mile wide. Fort Madison is a place of much activity in trade and manufactures; in the latter of which it appears to have made more progress than any other town in the state. Two or three newspapers arc published here. Large quantities of grain, pork, &c. are shipped at this place, which is also an extensive depot for pine lumber. Population in 1850, 2300; in 1853, about 3000.  (Baldwin's New and Complete Gazetteer of the United States..., 1854)

FORT MADISON, a beautiful city named after a military post, established here in the year 1809, under President Madison, and the capital of Lee County, is situated on the west bank of the Mississippi River, 250 miles above St. Louis, Mo., and has a population of 5,000. It was settled about the year 1832, and its growth, although not rapid, has been of a very substantial and permanent character. The country, around the city, consists of rich bottom lands on the west, and after passing the semi-circular range of bluffs, which skirts it on the east and north, we find the finest quality of table lands, densely populated, and under the highest state of cultivation. This is the terminus of the Iowa Southern railroad. The principal buildings are the state prison, court house, public school house, seven church edifices, several spacious public halls, two saw mills, two flouring mills, one woolen manufactory, three distilleries, one market house, and five hotels. There are two weekly newspapers published here, the Plaindealer and the Bulletin. For the beauty and healthfulness of its location, and the picturesqueness of its surrounding scenery, this city has no superior in the Mississippi valley. Many of the business houses are of large size, of modern style, and built mostly of brick. An active effort is being made here, under the leadership of Rev. J. G. Wilson, editor of the Plaindealer, to establish a Female College, with fair prospects of success. The culture of the vine is a speciality here, and has already become an important source of revenue, there being near one hundred acres of land under grape culture, adjacent to the city. The soil and climate of this locality are peculiarly favorable to the culture of the grape. Owing to the course of the river, the city is several miles nearer the interior of the State than any other river city in Iowa, making it a very desirable point for those seeking locations for business.  (Hair's Iowa State Gazetteer..., 1865)

Total Population 1850
Total Population 1860
Free Black Population 1850
City or Town